Onam is celebrated as a 10-day-long harvest festival in the Indian state of Kerala. Characterised by cultural events, it is one of the most important festivals for the folks of Kerala. They celebrate this festival with great joy and enthusiasm regardless of their origin. It is believed that the Onam holiday is observed to celebrate the day when King Mahabali or Maveli returned to Kerala. Onam is also celebrated to commemorate the appearance of the Vamana avatar of Vishnu.
Let’s discover more about this auspicious Onam holiday!
|2023 Date and Day
|20th August (Sunday) to 31st August (Thursday)
|Chingam (siṃha) Masam, Atham (hastā) Nakshatram
|Chingam (siṃha) Masam, Thiruvonam (śrāvaṇa) Nakshatram
In 2023, the Onam festival will be celebrated from the 20th of August (Saturday) to the 31st of August (Thursday). The festival is celebrated over a period of 10 days, with the last day being the most important occasion. Onam is celebrated in the month of Chingam, according to the Malyali calendar, which coincides with the month of August or September.
Thiruvonam Nakshathram will begin at 2:43 am and end at 11:50 pm on the 29th of August (Tuesday), 2023.
The Onam celebrations are grand. The festival begins on Atham (the first day of the 10-day festival) and continues until Thiruvonam (the last and most auspicious day of the festival). Atham is the day when Atham Nakshatra prevails. According to the Hindu calendar, Atham Nakshatra is also referred to as Hasta Nakshatra.
The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm across the state. People take early morning baths, clean their homes, and decorate their homes with flowers and lights. Moreover, they make Pookalam (traditional floral patterns or decorations) outside their homes. The celebrations also include indulging in feasting on Onam Sadhya. It is a huge feast consisting of over 26 dishes. All members of a family get together to prepare this dish. It is served on banana leaves and eaten with hands.
Pookalam is prepared with yellow petals. As each day of the festival passes, people continue building layers of Pookalam. The base layer of Pookalam is known as Athapoo. On the second day of the festival, Chithira, people add two more layers of yellow and orange petals to Pookalam.
Women wear Kasavu Sari, a traditional gold and white sari. People also celebrate the festival by participating in different activities. These include Onakalikal (a collection of several games played during the Onam festival), Pulikali (a tableau with actors dressed as tigers and hunters), Vallamkali (boat race), and archery.
Grand processions, including Athachamayam, are held at the Vamanamoorthy Thirrikara Temple and other parts of the city.
By the fourth day, Vishakam, people start preparing for Onasadya and stock their homes with the first crops of the season. A popular boat race competition is held on the Pamba river on the fifth day (Anizham) of the festival.
Onasadya is offered in temples from the seventh day (Moolam). Eventually, the statues of Mahabali and Vamana are placed at the centre of Pookalam. On the last day of the festival, Thiruvonam, people paint rice flour batter outside their homes to welcome King Mahabali.
The Onam festival is best known for its traditions, rituals, practices, and ceremonies. Listed below are some of the most popular ones:
This dance is the center of attraction on Onam, performed by a group of 8 to 10 women.
Also known as the tiger dance, it is Puli Kali. While performing this dance, performers are dressed like tigers.
It is a dance form in which the performers portray characters from different ancient cultures.
It is a huge feast prepared by combining over 26 dishes. These include Banana chips, Pappadam, Injipuli (Pulilnji), Thoran, Mezhukkupuratti, Olan, Kaulan, Sambar, Avial, Dal, Moru, Molosyam, Pulleseri, Erisheri, Khichdi, Pachadi, sugar, jaggery, and more. It is served on banana leaves.
It is a type of rangoli prepared with yellow and orange flower petals. It is also known as Onampookalam and Athapookalam.
Also known as the snake boat race, it is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Onam. The Aranmula Uthrattathi Boat Race and Nehru Trophy Boat Race are other popular boat races.
As mentioned above, Onam is a harvest festival celebrated over a period of 10 days in Kerala. The last day of the festival is considered to be the most auspicious day. Onam is celebrated in the month of Chingam, according to the Malyali calendar. It coincides with the months of August or September, according to the Gregorian calendar.
Onam is celebrated to commemorate the return of King Mahabali to Kerala.
Listed below are the top festival attractions to attend during Onam in Kerala:
Here, the festival begins with vibrant processions, where you can find decorated elephants and dancers performing on the beats of the drums.
You cannot miss the Onam celebration at the Thrikkakara Temple. It is located almost 40 km away from Kochi. Pakalpooram is the major event organised at the temple, in addition to dance and other cultural performances.
The boat races organised across the state are a sight to behold.
Onam is a major annual harvest festival celebrated by the people of Kerala, India. It is celebrated to mark the homecoming of the legendary King Mahabali, who is believed to visit Kerala during the festival.
According to Hindu mythology, Mahabali was a just and generous ruler who his people loved. However, the Gods, who were jealous of his popularity, plotted to bring him down. They asked Lord Vishnu to take on his fifth avatar of a Brahmin dwarf – Vamana – and challenge Mahabali’s rule.
Vishnu, in the form of a dwarf, approached Mahabali and asked for three feet of land. Mahabali, not realising that the dwarf was actually Vishnu, granted the request. Vishnu then grew to immense proportions and claimed all of the lands, pushing Mahabali down to the underworld. As Vaman was about to take his third step, Mahabali offered his head in sacrifice.
It pleased Lord Vishnu and granted Lord Mahabli the freedom to visit Kerala every year on Onam.
In conclusion, Onam is a harvest festival observed for 10 days in Kerala, India. For the people of Kerala, it is a significant holiday that is observed with great jubilation and enthusiasm. Pookalam making, Onam Sadya feasting, and participation in a variety of sporting events like Onakalikal, Pulikali, Vallamkali, and archery are just a few of the grand celebrations that take place during this time. The event also has customary ceremonies, rituals, and practices like Thiruvathirakali, Kaduvakali, and others. 2023 will see Onam festivities take place from August 20 until August 31.
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Onam is an annual festival of harvests which continues for a period of 10 days. People in Kerala, regardless of their religion, celebrate the festival. It is one of the most important festivals celebrated in the state. Several cultural events are part of the festival.
Onam is celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala. People in Kerala celebrate this 10-day-long festival regardless of their religion. It is the most important festival celebrated in the state.
No, Onam is not a national holiday. However, it is an optional holiday. Most businesses and offices remain open on Onam.
Onam is a 10-day-long harvest festival which celebrates the return of King Mahabali or Maveli to Kerala. In accordance with the Malayali calendar, the festival falls in the month of Chingam. According to the Gregorian calendar, it is celebrated in the month of August or September.
In 2023, the main day to celebrate Onam is the 20th of August. This year the festival will be celebrated on Sunday.
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